Covid-19 flight ban: The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced on Thursday that the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till February 28. The schedule international passenger flights have been curtailed since the coronavirus-induced lockdown came into force in March last year.
However, in the directive shared on Twitter, the DGCA added that on a case-to-case basis the international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority.
The DGCA circular states: “In partial modification of circular dated 26-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hours IST of 28th February, 2021. This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.“
Although the scheduled international passenger services have been suspended since March 23, special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020. And flight services have also resumed under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with selected countries since July.
At present, India has “air bubble pacts” with 24 countries like the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom, the UAE, France, Kenya, and Bhutan, among others.
Under the “air bubble pact”, airlines of the two countries are allowed to operate special internatinal flights between the territories of the countries entering the pact.
— DGCA (@DGCAIndia) January 28, 2021
The DGCA circular also states that the suspension order will not apply on the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.